Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Image Of A "Terrorist"

According to Israel

Monday, December 22, 2008

What? Did We Run Out Of Shoes??

While Bush himself didn't fare nearly as well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raked in at least $316,000 in gem-encrusted baubles from the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia alone, making her one of top recipients among U.S. officials of gifts from foreign heads of state and government and their aides in 2007.

In January, Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice an emerald and diamond necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings estimated to be worth $147,000, according to the State Department's annual inventory of such items released Monday just in time for Christmas.

The king and his wife, Queen Rania, also gave Rice a less expensive necklace and earrings along with a jewelry box valued at $4,630, the document shows.

Not to be outdone, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented Rice with a ruby and diamond necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring worth $165,000 in July. The inventory also includes a $170,000 flower petal motif necklace the Saudi monarch gave to Rice in 2005, which the department says was not previously disclosed.

Meanwhile, back in Gaza....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friends Of The Clintons

I know the elections are behind us.. but this is too delicious to pass..

The Clinton Foundation has finally released their list of contributors, and here are some of the more interesting findings:

- Blackwater, the mercenary group in Iraq (and other places) donated upwards of $25K to the Foundation

- The Saudi government also donated $25K, but private contributions from other Saudi individuals and corporations come closer to $500K

- Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Oman gave $1 million to $5 million each.

- Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid gave $1 million to $5 million.

- Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation each gave $1 million to $5 million

- Harold Snyder, director for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the largest drug company in Israel. His son, Jay T. Snyder, serves on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which oversees State Department activities, and served as a senior U.S. adviser to the United Nations, where he worked on international trade and poverty. Jay Snyder donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation.

- Issam Fares, a former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, donated close to $100,000

- TV producer Haim Saban and his family foundation, who donated between $5 million and $10 million, splits his time between homes in Israel and California. "I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel," he told The New York Times in 2004.

- Slim-Fast diet foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham, a donor of between $1 million and $5 million, has been a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which promotes Israel's interests before the U.S. government. (I'm so ready to give up on my diet now)

and many more.. for a complete list, go to: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/contributors

Now, keep in mind that most of the money goes to charity, particularly the fight against AIDS, famine and poverty... while some goes towards the Clinton library in Arkansas..

Still, you have to wonder, what favors did the Clintons have to provide in return? and now that Hillary is about to head the state department, how are these revelations going to affect policy?

What assurances do we have that there will be a complete separation between the work of the foundation, Bill, and Hillary?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoes Of The Season

I just love the way how US media outlets, in their coverage of the shoe incident, have to explain (in a very National Geographic tone) that throwing shoes at someone is considered a form of insult in the Arab world.

Really? Why? Is throwing shoes at somebody in the US considered a term of endearment?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Showtime In The Kingdom

Audiences in Saudi Arabia can finally go to the movies again.

Saudi Arabia has officially lifted the ban on movie theaters. Movies will open on two screens in Jeddah and Taef on Dec. 9.

The first movie to play in the kingdom will be "Milk" the story of the gay civil rights hero as portrayed by Sean Penn. (ok, that's actually a joke)

The first title is actually a local film titled "Menahi"; a $2 million movie directed by Ayman Makram, it is the first bigscreen incarnation of popular Saudi TV persona Menahi, a naive, humble farmer who often finds himself involved in comic escapades. It centers on Menahi's involvement in a get-rich-quick scheme and traveling from his tribal homeland to the booming metropolis of Dubai.

The movie has already opened in neighboring Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

Saudi film execs have been inching their way toward this day for many months. In May this year, the Dammam Literary Club held the the conservative kingdom's first official film fest.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playlist in Beirut - Part 2

Playlist In Beirut

Special episode of Playlist about the emerging music scene in Beirut

Friday, December 5, 2008

Do you REALLY want to hurt me?

Boy George was found guilty on Friday of falsely imprisoning a Norwegian male escort by handcuffing him to a wall.

The former Culture Club frontman was at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London to hear the verdict, which came at the end of a two-week trial.

The jury broke to consider its verdict at around noon on Thursday. He will be sentenced later.

The 47-year-old, tried under his real name George O'Dowd, denied falsely imprisoning Audun Carlsen at his flat in April last year, the Press Association reported.

O'Dowd told police he had invited Carlsen to his home after a cocaine-fueled pornographic photo shoot in January because he suspected the Norwegian of stealing pictures from his computer. During the trial, Carlsen countered that the singer had handcuffed him to a wall and beaten him with a chain because he was angry he had refused to sleep with him when they first met. O'Dowd did not give evidence during the trial. The court heard Carlsen describe how he sustained injuries during their meeting in April, 2007, from being beaten and handcuffed.

O'Dowd's lawyer said the injuries were consistent with bondage gear the Norwegian had worn.

The singer shot to fame in the 1980s, thanks to his distinctive voice and androgynous image, and Culture Club topped the charts with hits like "Karma Chameleon" and "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"

But he has struggled with drug problems, and in 2006 served community service in New York after admitting to falsely reporting a burglary. Police responding to his call found 13 bags of cocaine in his apartment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Britney Rules Search

Yahoo just released their "Top Search Terms" for 2008.

Despite a year full of turmoil, hurricanes and other natural disasters, not to mention a very heated election, Britney Spears was the most searched on "term" for the entire year.

Number two was "World Wrestling Federation" and third was "Obama"

Hey, whatever happened to "Sex" and "Free Porn"?

Monday, December 1, 2008

What He Did For Love....(or that he just owes her)

To make it possible for his wife to become the top U.S. diplomat, the officials said, former President Clinton agreed:
  • to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997 and all contributors going forward.
  • to refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference.
  • to cease holding CGI meetings overseas.
  • to volunteer to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife is secretary of state.
  • to submit his speaking schedule to review by the State Department and White House counsel.
  • to submit any new sources of income to a similar ethical review.